Tackling my TBR

Tackling My TBR: July 2022

Friday, July 01, 2022

Tackling My TBR is a monthly post, where I share my reading plans for the upcoming month. The concept of a TBR Jar is not a new one. I’ve seen it used in various ways throughout the bookish community. My jar is a little different. The goal is to read the older books on my to-read pile. Thus, instead of putting individual book titles on a small sheet of paper to place in the jar, I wrote a month and a year on each. Each month, I intend to pull three sheets of paper from my jar which will dictate which three books I will read. The dates on the paper correspond with the date I added those books to my Goodreads account. Some months will have over 20 books to choose from, when others may have only one. From Goodreads, I’ll choose the three books from the three different monthly hauls. And if I cannot complete the book within the month, it will be unhauled (with the exception of one pass each month).

In June, I attempted to read books from the April 2012, March 2013, and October 2014 book hauls. I tried to pick up these books, but, unfortunately, I didn't get to finish any of them. Blaze by Laurie Boyle Crompton mixes comic strips and prose, and the concept sounds really cool. Yet, I was not excited to pick it up, and I was starting to think this book may not be for me. Therefore, I unhauled Blaze. Also, I was able to tackle 100 pages of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. However, I DNF-ed it and ultimately, unhauled that one too. That left Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday which is a retelling of Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe. I wasn't able to get to that one in June, but hopefully I'll be able to pick it up soon.

From the jar, I picked from the December 2013, August 2011, and May 2020 book hauls. From there, I chose the following books to read:

A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay: I don't remember what this is about. I even forgot that I had it on my shelves. This month is a great month to read it!

The Forbidden Game by L. J. Smith: I am kind of daunted by the size of this one, totaling around 750 pages. That is probably the reason I haven't picked it up until now. However, I heard that a production company are in talks about adapting this for TV so there's even more reason to finally pick up this one. L.J. Smith is the author of the Vampire Diaries series, so I am excited to see what is in store in this book.

Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev: I have been enjoying food-related romances. I can't wait to read one that not only involves food and a romance, but retells Pride and Prejudice. It's going to be amazing!

One of my goals of 2022 is to finish more series. So, in addition to my TBR jar, I created a smaller jar with all the book series I want to finish this year. I plan on picking one series out each month and by the end of the year, I should have finished 12 series. In June, I picked out the conclusion to the Vampirates series, Immortal War by Justin Somper and devoured it. For this month, I picked out the conclusion of Stalking Jack the Ripper series.

Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco: I am going to be so sad to finish this series. I recently read the third book, Escaping from Houdini, and I was instantly reminded on how much I adore all of the characters and how Maniscalco weaves the mystery for the gang to solve. I'm excited to see what case is next for Audrey Rose and Thomas!

Summerween Readathon

Summerween Readathon is hosted by Olivia at Olivia Reads a Latte and Gabby at Gabby Reads. This readathon takes place during July 15th to the 21st. Here is the announcement video. Here are the prompts for the readathon and the books I am hoping to get to:

Read a book in the dark/at night - Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall: I can't wait to get spooked! I tend to read my horror books during the day, because I will be too scared to go to sleep if I read scary books at night. However, this one will be fun!

Read a book with Halloween colors on the cover - Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson: I read the first book, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder last month and it was so good. I can't wait to see what other mysteries Pip will be tackling next.

Read a book with "haunt" in the title - Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos: This prompt was difficult, because I don't own any books that I haven't read with the word "haunt" in the title. So I went with a book on my TBR that recently released with the word "hunt." This one follows a cast of characters filming a horror short in a Romanian castle. What could go wrong?

Read a slasher - Chosen by Kiersten White: I don't think I read a lot of slashers so attempting to complete this prompt was also challenging. However, when I think of slasher, I sometimes think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I decided to pick White's retelling of Buffy. 

Make or bake a spooky, fall themed treat - Salted Caramel Latte

What are you planning on reading this month?

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Books on My Summer TBR (2022)

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

It's finally summer, which means iced coffee, watermelon, reading outside, and tons of fun at the pool. While summer means many amazing things, it is also the time to read the cutest contemporaries and to stay cool with some fantasy and horror books. I can't wait to read all the books. What does summer mean to you?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is: Top 10 Books On My Summer TBR:

Maybe This Time by Kasie West
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Direwood by Catherine Yu
Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan 
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

What are you reading this summer?

book tag

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag (2022)

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

I've been doing this tag every year—except last year, unfortunately—since I first found it. Check out 2020’s post. It's always a blast to be able to go through all the books I've read so far in the year and discuss my favorites. As of today, I've read a total of 123 books! I’m just as shocked as you are. I graduated college last December and dove head first into reading tons of books. I’ve considerably slowed down since the first few months of the year, but I am thinking of trying to finish 200 books by the end of the year. I’ve never read that many in a year, so wish me luck! Let's chat about all the books I've read so far this year:

The best book you've read so far in 2022:

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas: I finally read this book in time for its sequel’s release. Though, I haven’t picked up the sequel yet. This was absolutely fantastic! I liked the urban fantasy world with its large cast of characters. I was obsessed with the romance. It was everything!

Your favorite sequel(s) of the year:

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer: What a great conclusion to the Cursebreakers series! The whole series had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Since I gave every book before this one in the series five stars, I had a feeling that I was going to love this one and I did!

A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair: I saw A Touch of Darkness somewhere on TikTok and since I adore Greek mythology retellings, I thought I’d give this Hades and Persephone retelling a try. And I adored both of these books. It’s an ongoing series so I am waiting until the series is completed to continue, but it is such an addictive book!

Into the Hollow by Karina Halle: Last year, I discovered the Experiment in Terror series and have been reading my way through these books. It follows paranormal investigators as they hunt supernatural creatures and fall in love. While I’ve rated all of the books highly, this installment serves as a turning point for the characters, where readers get the most character development. I adored it!

A new release that you haven't read but really want to:

Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram: After Khorram’s fantastic debut, Darius the Great is Not Okay, I will read anything he writes. This one follows a boy band star, Hunter, as he navigates life on tour.

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon: The author that brought you the 5-star reads of Today Tonight Tomorrow and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This comes a time loop romance. I am completely sold; can’t wait for this one!

Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer: Kemmerer is back with a new series set in the Cursebreakers world. Do you know what that means? Some of my favorite characters will be making an appearance! This is going to be such a fantastic book!

Most anticipated release(s) for the second half of the year:

Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle (10/4): After adoring Hogle’s first few books, I have a feeling that she is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me. This one will most definitely cement her place as one. Just Like Magic is a holiday-themed contemporary romance.

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (8/30): I have so many questions after reading the previous book in the series, The Hawthorne Legacy. This also is the third and final book in the Inheritance Games and I can’t wait to see what happens next with the Hawthorne gang.

Frightmares by Eva V. Gibson (7/5): I discovered this one recently and it was sounds like it will be perfect for the autumn months. Everything changes when Dave, an employee at a struggling haunted house, finds an actual dead body hidden in plain sight. Why isn’t anyone talking about this one?

Your biggest disappointment:

Honor Lost by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre: I finished the book and my first thoughts were, “What just happened?” I’m in the minority here as all the reviews I’ve read have really loved the third book in The Honors trilogy. I was so excited to read this one after loving the first two books, but I may have hyped it too high, because the book fell flat for me.

Biggest surprise of the year:

All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman: I was counting down the days until I could borrow this from the library. After all, it was marketed as The Hunger Games with magic, which sounds magnificent. However, it was a surprise that I didn’t like it as much as I was hoping to. It just wasn’t for me.

Radiance by Grace Draven: It has been a while since I read an indie-published book, but I am so glad that I gave this one a try. I completely loved this one and now want to read all the books Draven has ever written!

Favorite new-to-you or favorite author:

Alexis HallRosaline Palmer Takes the Cake: I have never read anything by Alexis Hall, but I’ve seen some of their work around. After reading Rosaline Palmer, I need to read more from them. It was such a fantastic story with superb writing. I can’t wait to start working on Hall’s backlist!

A book that made you cry:

A book that made you happy:

My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen | All Fired Up by Dylan Newton

Favorite book-to-movie adaptation:

Heartstopper vol. 1-4 by Alice Oseman

The most beautiful book you bought/received this year:

A Universe of Wishes by various | Reborn Yesterday by Tessa Bailey | The Righteous by Renee Ahdieh

What are some books that you need to read by the end of the year:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout | The Roommate by Rosie Danan

I tag all of you. Let's chat about our favorites of the year so far!

book review

An Unexpected Surprise | Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard

Friday, June 10, 2022

Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard

 Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Pages: 338
Source: purchased

It all begins with a stupid question: Are you a Global Vagabond? No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan’s found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back. Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry to this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.
After her friends bail on her when they were supposed to go on a trip abroad, she decides to go it alone and join the Global Vegabonds, a traveling tour company. Except the Global Vegabond tour is not what she expected, a middle-aged tour group set on seeing the cliché tourist spots and nothing else. When she crosses paths with some backpackers, Bria decides to take the path less traveled—by tourists at least.

Healing Journey

  • The plot itself seems more of a journey or healing for Bria rather than the romance I was expecting which gives it a unique fresh perspective.
  • Hubbard is in fact a travel writer and that definitely shows within her writing. She captures the feeling within her pages. Her descriptions and the characters ring true, almost making it seem that this piece of fiction may be real life, in all its rawness; it’s a magnificent adventure.
  • All the characters are keeping secrets and as we get deeper into the plot, we become entwined with curiosity in knowing the truth of what these characters are running from. It’s a healing journey even if they don’t right away disclose the thing that is holding them back—their past. It’s a gorgeous story that deserves many readers.

An Unexpected Masterpiece

  • I absolutely adore the structure. It is broken down by the standard chapter which usually begins with a journal entry. It has several lists sprinkled throughout which definitely makes it a fun read. However, not only does the pages hold lists, but there are countless illustrations which certainly make the plot come to life.
  • When contemporary romance and travel mix, it is difficult to expect anything other than a cliché story but it was great to see a contemporary that is not busy flying around Europe. Rather Europe, we are venturing through South America. I think with the setting change, it gives the feel of something new entirely.
  • As you get deeper into the plot, the more the protagonist is revealed to us.  The more I felt connected to her. Bria was extremely relatable, filled with rare spunky moments and a courage that definitely blossoms as the plot goes on.
  • Rowen is a complicated character, which gives him great depth. A lot of times, he was hot and cold.  Readers were kept in the dark as to the reasons behind that which was true to life but it was also infuriating. He easily blurred the lines of good and bad, similar to people in real life where the line is never truly defined. It made me want to delve deeper into his past, his character.
  • The ending felt a bit rushed. Shouldn’t they have talked things out before going right into the make-up make out?
  • The story is a simple one but it will certainly enchant you from page one with its gorgeous descriptions and dialogue that jumps out at every page. It is a lovely story that is thought provoking on traveling the world, as well as how other people see travel.


Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard was an unexpected surprise. It was not the contemporary romance I was expecting, rather a healing journey through the less traveled spots of South America. It was a raw, true-to-life masterpiece that enchants the traveler’s mind.

Tackling my TBR

Tackling My TBR: June 2022

Friday, June 03, 2022

Tackling My TBR is a monthly post, where I share my reading plans for the upcoming month. The concept of a TBR Jar is not a new one. I’ve seen it used in various ways throughout the bookish community. My jar is a little different. The goal is to read the older books on my to-read pile. Thus, instead of putting individual book titles on a small sheet of paper to place in the jar, I wrote a month and a year on each. Each month, I intend to pull three sheets of paper from my jar which will dictate which three books I will read. The dates on the paper correspond with the date I added those books to my Goodreads account. Some months will have over 20 books to choose from, when others may have only one. From Goodreads, I’ll choose the three books from the three different monthly hauls. And if I cannot complete the book within the month, it will be unhauled (with the exception of one pass each month).

In May, I attempted to tackle books from my May 2015, March 2016, and September 2018 book hauls. Coinciding with my binge-watching of Moon Knight, I was able to read Rick Riordan’s The Throne of Fire. Honestly, there needs to be more books that involve Egyptian mythology and folklore, because I completely love it! Unfortunately, however, I wasn’t able to read The Cage by Megan Shepherd or The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. Instead of unhauling them, I am hoping to get to both of them this month. Also, in an attempt to finish another series, I started Immortal War by Justin Somper in May but didn’t get very far.

From the jar, I picked from the April 2012, March 2013, and October 2014 book hauls. From there I chose the following books to read this month:

Blaze by Laurie Boyle Crompton: I started this one a long time again and ended up putting it down. However, filled with a mix of prose and comic strips, I knew I wanted to try to give it another chance.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill: I am obsessed with this cover, which is probably the main reason I acquired this book back in 2013. I love good time traveling books so my expectations are quite high for this one.

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday: This book has been on my shelves for forever. I even thought about unhauling this one a few months ago but decided that I could still give it a try. This one is a retelling of Poe’s Annabel Lee within the horror genre. Doesn’t it sound fantastic?

Sun's Out Books Out Readathon

The Sun’s Out Books Out Readathon is hosted by booktubers: Olivia at Liv’s Library, Lauren at Lauren Love Reads, Elizabeth at Ponytails and Paperbacks, Keisha at A Book Like You, and Mackenzie at Mackenzie Lane. This readathon takes place during June 20th to the 26th. Here is the announcement video.

There are several prompts for this readathon. While I may be a bit over-ambitious since I haven’t been reading as much as usual, here’s all the books (and their complementing prompts) I hope to get to during that week:

Read a book that has yellow on the front coverThe Charmed List by Julie Abe: I received this book via Netgalley and it releases on July 5th. This one sounds absolutely lovely. And you know, I must read it if there’s a list involved. Ellie is determined to have the best summer ever by tackling her Anti-Wallflower List. Yet, when one of the items on the list goes entirely wrong, she’s unsure how to turn her summer back around.

Read a “chiller” a chill thrillerWake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne: I don’t read thrillers so I’m going to count this creepy paranormal fantasy as my chiller for the readathon. This book releases July 12th. It sounds so amazing that it’ll be hard to wait for the readathon to devour it. Laurel must uncover her mother’s dark legacy before everyone she loves is doomed!

Read a book chosen by a friendThe Marvelous by Claire Kann: My friend has been begging me to read this one, along with hundreds of others. It follows a group of teens who are locked inside a mansion, all set on competing for a huge cash prize.

Read a book with an island, ocean or beach settingPart of Your World by Liz Braswell: I’ve been collecting the Twisted Tales series for a bit now and I am excited to finally read one of them. This one involves transforming The Little Mermaid into a darker version, answering the question, “What if Ariel had never defeated Ursula?”

Read a book while on a picnic – I am going to use this prompt as a freebie to either mood read in the moment or double up one of the other prompts, all while on a picnic.

What are you planning on reading this month?